TAMPA -- Dallas Stars coach Lindy Ruff said forward Erik Cole may be back in the lineup Saturday against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
"We're going to give him a game-time decision," Ruff said. "He said this morning that he's feeling pretty good, so if it looks like he can go we'll play him tonight."
Cole has missed seven games with an upper-body injury, and his return would be welcome considering Stars forward Ray Whitney, who sustained a lower-body injury in the game against the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday will be out Saturday.
"There were times when [Cole] really dominated play," Ruff said. "He has really skated well for us and physically, he's a tough guy to handle down low. It gives us back a guy that has been an important piece for us. There are times when he's been out there struggling with injuries and playing, but when he's been feeling well and going well, he's been a guy that has really pushed the other team back and gotten behind the other defense. Physically, he's a tough guy to handle."
In case Cole cannot play Saturday, the Stars recalled forward Chris Mueller from Texas of the American Hockey League on Friday.
The Lightning made an addition to their roster Friday, recalling defenseman Andrej Sustr from Syracuse of the AHL. Sustr had seven assists in 38 games for Tampa Bay before he was sent to the Crunch in January.
"He is very calm with the puck and he makes a lot of good outlet passes," Lightning associate coach Rick Bowness said. "He has a lot of hockey sense. This kid knows how to play the game. Obviously experience is a key factor, and that's why we sent him down, to give him a lot more playing time. He can play in this League, he's demonstrated that before. He's patient with the puck and waits for the seams to open, then moves the puck well. He's going to be in this League a long time."
Goalie Ben Bishop will play for the Lightning on Saturday, his seventh consecutive start and 22nd in the past 24 games.
"He wants to play," Bowness said. "We've monitored his days off. He says he feels fresh and rested and he wants to play, and he'll have days off Sunday and Monday. We want home ice, and when you want home ice you play your best players."
Here are the projected lineups:
Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin – Valeri Nichushkin
Antoine Roussel – Cody Eakin – Ryan Garbutt
Shawn Horcoff – Vernon Fiddler – Colton Sceviour
Erik Cole – Dustin Jeffrey – Alex Chiasson
Patrik Nemeth – Sergei Gonchar
Alex Goligoski – Trevor Daley
Jordie Benn – Brenden Dillon
Scratched: Kevin Connauton, Chris Mueller
Injured: Ray Whitney (lower body), Aaron Rome (lower body)
J.T. Brown - Steven Stamkos - Teddy Purcell
Ondrej Palat - Valtteri Filppula - Ryan Callahan
Alex Killorn - Tyler Johnson - Nikita Kucherov
Ryan Malone - Nate Thompson –Tom Pyatt
Victor Hedman - Sami Salo
Matthew Carle - Radko Gudas
Eric Brewer –Andrej Sustr
Scratched: Keith Aulie, B.J. Crombeen, Cody Kunyk, Richard Panik, Mark Barberio
Injured: Michael Kostka